National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year



 Since 1962, the General Aviation Awards Program has recognized a small group of aviation professionals in the fields of flight instruction, aviation maintenance, avionics, and flight safety for their important contributions to the aviation community.

This awards program is a partnership and a cooperative effort between more than a dozen sponsoring organizations from the aviation industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The selection process begins with local offices. Panels of aviation professionals from within those four fields then select national winners from the pool of regional winners.

The FAA administrator annually has presented the national awards in July during a “Theater in the Woods” program at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Included in the prize packages for each national winner is an all-expense paid trip to Oshkosh for the recipient and a guest to attend the awards presentation and other GA Awards activities. Generous contributions from industry sponsors pay for the winners’ expenses, while the FAA provides the support and structure for nominations to proceed from local to national levels. Hard working volunteers within the industry provide the various administrative tasks.

The General Aviation Awards Program is a cooperative effort between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation industry sponsors to recognize annually outstanding individuals in the fields of Avionics, Flight Instruction, and Maintenance. In addition, the program recognizes outstanding individuals serving the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) as representatives.

The awards highlight the important roles these individuals play in promoting aviation safety, education, and professionalism. Winners will be recognized locally, regionally and nationally. National winners will be recognized during AirVenture-Oshkosh each July. There, they will also receive gifts and merchandise provided by sponsors and contributors. 

For More information about GA Awards, please visit their webpage

2021 National CFI of the Year


Ronald Jay “Ron” Timmermans of Orlando, Florida has been named the 2021 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year. Ron received his BA in Architecture from Iowa State University in 1972, and had a 40+-year professional career as an architect and project manager before devoting himself to aviation on a full-time basis. He has been an independent flight instructor since 1998. These days, he owns and manages AileRon T, LLC, and he flies a Beechcraft Bonanza co-owned with his wife Barbara – who originally inspired him to become a Flight Instructor.

Ron has logged more than 4,000 hours of dual instruction given, nearly 1,300 of those hours in the past five years. He instructs at locations throughout Florida from Miami to Naples to Tampa, where he serves as a mentor and advocate for emerging and young pilots and CFIs. Before relocating to Florida, Ron lived in North Texas and performed flight training in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Ron holds a wallet full of FAA airman certificates, including ATP-AMEL, Commercial-ASEL, CFI-IA, MEI-IA, AGI-Instrument, and Remote Pilot. He is a NAFI Master CFI and Master Ground Instructor, a Gold Seal Instructor, and an American Bonanza Society (ABS) Master Aviator. While Ron has instructed in everything from primary trainers to high-performance turbines, he is particularly well-known in the Beech community due to his active involvement in the Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program (BPPP) and Bonanza/Baron Pilot Training (BPT) program.

Ron began providing training to Beechcraft pilots in 1998 and developed the BPT training curricula that were approved for WINGS credit by the FAA. He instructed in BPT events throughout the United States from Oregon and California to New Hampshire and Florida and numerous other venues in between. In addition to providing instruction for Bonanza and Baron pilots, Ron has also been active in the BPT Companion Training Course for those pilots’ significant others. Since 2012, Ron has been active in the BPPP program of the ABS Air Safety Foundation.

Ron’s involvement in the Beech community has included authorship of some 50 articles published in the ABS Magazine and was elected to the ABS Board of Directors. He is a frequent consultant to owners and buyers of Beechcraft airplanes, and conducts frequent Beechcraft transition training.

Ron has served as a FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Orlando FSDO since 2011 when he moved to Florida. Prior to that, he served as Lead Representative for North Texas FSDO. He has presented at 30 WINGS safety seminars at events throughout Florida and at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. He has also been a frequent presenter at AOPA’s Rusty Pilots Seminars, Safety Seminars and Flight Instructor Refresher Courses.

Ron is a big supporter of the FAA WINGS program. He served on the WINGS Industry Advisory Committee (WIAC) and helped found the WINGS Industry Network in 2020. He also serves on the FAA’s WINGS Usability Working Group that began in 2020.

Ron’s outreach activities include presenting NAFI MentorLIVE webinars for flight instructors, and hosting broadcasts for Florida Aviation Network live-streaming events to a national audience. He is a regular presenter at ABS national conventions, EAA AirVenture, Sun ‘n Fun, AOPA Regional Fly-Ins, and numerous other aviation events. Ron is a contributing member of  AOPA, EAA, NAFI, SAFE, ABS, BPT, BPPP and Quiet Birdmen. [email protected]


Past National CFI of the Year Recipients:

2020 Catherine Cavagnaro (NAFI#219522) 1993 Kenneth W Medley
2019 Gary Reeves (NAFI#219477) 1992 William K Kershner
2018 Daniel P. Christman (NAFI#16593) 1991  Lloyd J Probst
2017 Charles O. Gensler (NAFI# 18957) 1990 Sandra Provenzano
2016 Robert J. Hepp (NAFI# 216994) 1989 John U. Rockcastle (NAFI#8012)
2015 Mary A. Schu (NAFI# 215075) 1988 Jeffrey Hanson
2014 Howard W. Wolvington (NAFI# 16507) 1987 June B. Bonesteel (NAFI#7685)
2013 Dean W. Eichholz (NAFI# 8691) 1986 Genie Ray O’Kelley
2012 Hobart C. Tomlinson (NAFI#19656) 1985 Harold W Spencer
2011 Judy A. Phelps 1984 James G Byrnes
2010 Jeffery R. Moss (NAFI#215505) 1983 Mary J. Reindl
2009 Arlynn McMahon (NAFI#20271) 1982 Gladys M. Morrison
2008 Max Trescott (NAFI#18649) 1981 Fred H. Atkinson
2007 Michael G. Gaffney 1980 Lee G. Barnes
2006 Richard L. Stowell, Jr 1979 Evelyn B. Johnson
2005 John A. Teipen (NAFI#13290) 1978 Obie Sigrest Young (NAFI#2947)
2004 Douglas Stewart 1977 Edward Alan Englehardt
2003 William J. Edwards (NAFI#12331) 1976 Gregory G. Gorak (NAFI#1245)
2001 Phillip J. Poynor (NAFI#9685) 1975 Unknown
2002 Kirby V. Ortega (NAFI#14010) 1974 Unknown
2000 Gregory N. Brown (NAFI#13972) 1973 Willard C. Marvin
1999 David H. Faile 1972 Thomas M. Smith
1998 John C. “JC” Boylls (NAFI#4659) 1971 Unknown
1997 James E. Trusty 1970 Unknown
1996 Ludwig J. “Lou” Wipotnik 1969 Unknown
1995 Lyn Carlson 1968 Unknown
1994 William E Huber 1967 Henry “Hank” S. Hubbell